Chicken Fried Steak

by John Smith

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When it gets right down to it, a nice chicken fried steak with some smashed potatoes and gravy is hard to beat. In fact, I think it just might be my favorite dinner. Whenever the wife and I go out, I always get one, except when we go Mexican, Italian or maybe Chinese or if we go to my favorite buffet type Chuck a Rama restaurant or if I get a hankering for something else. I almost sometimes always get one.

For some reason, a chicken fried steak is one of those entrees that I rarely fix myself even though I really like them. Normally when I go out, I order something that I would not fix at home. I never order a steak in a restaurant. I just cannot pay three or four times what that steak would cost me if I cooked it at home, and at home, I get it the way I want it. But I will order the chicken fried steak even though it is quite easy to fix and can be very economical if you know what you are doing, and of course, I do.

There are as many options for cheap chicken fried steak meat at your local grocer as there are bargains in the meat case. You see you can use any piece of lean beef to make chicken fried steak. Rump roast and top round London broil are often on sale quite cheap and either one will work find. Next time you want chicken fried steak for dinner and rumps or Londons are on sale, grab one from the counter and ask the butcher to trim it up and make cube steaks out of it. But like I said, any fairly lean cut will do. Sometimes cross rib roast are on sale cheap or round steak. Anything that doesn't have big wads of fat through it will work fine.

After the butcher has trimmed up the fairly lean cut of cheap beef of your choice and run the portion size chunks through his tenderizer, you can take them home and whip out one of the best home cooked meals on the planet.

Season a couple of cups of flour with salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar and a couple of tablespoons of beef soup or gravy base (optional). Next crack a couple of eggs and beat a little milk into it. Dip the cubed meat into the egg mixture and then into the flour mixture covering thoroughly. Then do it again. Place floured steaks into a pre-heated (medium heat) fry pan with about one half inch of oil covering bottom. Fry the steaks until they are browned. Drain on paper towels and then serve with gravy and potatoes.

For easy country gravy, pour off excess oil from the pan, leaving a couple of tablespoon or so depending on how much gravy you want to make. Use the leftover seasoned flour for the gravy. Stir enough flour into the oil to form a very thick paste. Stir mixture on medium heat for a few minutes to brown some. Add milk and stir on medium heat until gravy is the right consistency for you. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

Also, here at the Smith plantation, we make what we like to call smashed potatoes instead of the regular wimpy mashed potatoes. Instead of peeling the potatoes, scrub them real good, leaving the peels on. Boil gently until very tender, drain and then add milk or cream, massive amounts of real butter, salt and whip with your handy dandy power whipper until smooth and delectable. You will find the potatoes will have retained all their starch making them delicious and very hearty. Give it a try.

John Smith has been a butcher/meat cutter for 30+ years. He's written the book Confessions of a Butcher - eat steak on a hamburger budget and save$$$. You can check out his book and some of his archived articles at or post any meat related question and get it answered usually within 24 hours. John, his wife Vickie and their 8 kids live in eastern Idaho in the shadow of the Tetons. © Used by permission.

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